BSU stirs some controversy: Pride, prejudice and the flyer seen round campus

By Felicia Melvin
October 3, 2010

The black student union (BSU) is a student group that is dedicated to learning and expressing black and African heritage on campus. Anyone is welcomed to join, but for the most part the majority of the group is black students, and seldom do white students join.

I can’t speak for other students but as a minority student, I believe it is more than necessary to have a student group dedicated to the heritage of Africans and blacks.

This is the topic matter for an event on campus called Donuts and Diversity. Donuts and Diversity is an event ran by the Student Diversity Department here on campus, where students, staff and faculty come together to discuss topics important to students. Recently there has been some controversy stirred on campus about the Donuts and Diversity pride and prejudice flyer.

The flyer has two graphics. One shows Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Dr. King; the other shows a sign that says “colored only, no whites allowed.”

The flyer is not meant to be offensive by having the statements “colored only, no whites allowed.” It is there to gain interest and cause people to want to come to the event and give feedback.  The main purpose of this event is to have discussions and share different perspectives on the idea of having a black student union.

Is having a BSU a representation of pride for African Americans or a way to exclude others? This is the question at hand and the flyer represents that idea.

The Office of Student Diversity Initiatives began to highlight ‘Open to all’ after the signs were already put up, but for some students, the message was already twisted. -- Jamie Santoro / Perspectives Editor

I believe that if I, a black student, saw a flyer that said “whites only, no coloreds allowed” I would become alert because of the racial statement and then I would read the flyer thoroughly and hopefully understand the concept. “Colored” in terms of people,  means many things beyond black.

I believe that the flyer is a great way to amplify interest from students and faculty so that they want to attend the event and share their opinions. It is not meant to offend anyone.

Another topic matter for the discussion is to decide does the title “black student union” prohibit students who are not black from joining the group.

I don’t believe that the BSU should change their name to make other student students feel comfortable. If someone decides not to join a group because of a name then they honestly do not have an interest in the mission of the group. I do believe that it up to the BSU to always make students feel welcome regardless of their race or ethnicity.

I also believe that they should carry themselves in a manner where people would be interested in joining because of the work done by BSU. In my time here at Cabrini I have never felt excluded from any student group or activity.

I hope that if anyone is interested in BSU they take advantage of the opportunity to meet great students and to learn and have experiences that are unique and fun.

Felicia Melvin

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